Mitras Analysis of News : 15-04-2017

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1.Doctors under siege (The Hindu) 

2.Rise of terrorism in Africa (IDSA) 

3.Century of Champaran Satyagraha (100 years) (General)- High probability issue in GS 1 

4.Tensions in Korean Peninsula (The Hindu)

 

1.Doctors under siege (The Hindu) 

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of rising disrespect for doctors with growing violence against medical professionals. (GS paper I and III)

Overview

  • There is a new epidemic invading medical corridors across the globe i.e. violence against medical staff.
  • India is seeing rising instances of violence against doctors and health-care institutions across the country. Growing violence is reflection of people who sees violence as a method of demonstrating power; there is loss of faith in institution and lack of understanding of science and society.
  • According to the World Health Organization, “Between 8% and 38% of health workers suffer physical violence at some point in their careers. Many more are threatened or exposed to verbal aggression. Most violence is perpetrated by patients and visitors.

Healthcare system in India

 A citizen’s ability to access common services is largely influenced by the social class to which they belong. Many people show off their social position by their ability to preferentially access public services. Thus the “VIP pass” has become a symbol of power.

 The present health care system in India has inequality built in it. There is lack of infrastructure to cater the need of general public. The tremendous technological advances in medicine are not available to the majority in India. Increasing privatisation, corporatisation and commercialisation of medical care have ensured that many procedures cannot be accessed by the general public.

  • Examples of the privileged having access to extremely expensive care in the private sector, this propagates the idea that modern medicine can salvage even the most critically ill provided enough money is spent.
  • There is also a failure to establish and propagate a good understanding of modern science in India. Many doctors themselves believe in all kinds of superstitions and unverified and unverifiable treatments. They contribute to the ensuing confusion about what modern medicine can and cannot do. This poor understanding of science and of the limitations of modern medicine remains a suspicion that all was not done to save the patient and that much more would have been done had the patient paid more for an expensive hospital and doctor.

Problems faced by doctors in India

“Seventy years after independence, we have come to a situation where there is widespread dissatisfaction with all institutions of society. All of them are seen as corrupt and self serving. It is only a matter of degree. No more is the doctor automatically held in high esteem.”

  • According to the Lancet, violence against medical professionals in India is worse than it is in China. The main reasons for patient’s relatives to become violent are unnecessary investigations, delay in attending patient, request of advance payments, or withholding a deceased body until settlement of final billing. Ultimately the medical trade involved in this noble profession has resulted in doctors, patients and relatives unrest.
  • According to Lancet, doctors in India to settle in big cities, where life is expensive, might unwillingly practise unethically, such as advising expensive unnecessary radiology, endoscopic, or laboratory investigations. In government hospitals, doctors are overworked and under pressure from politicians who can interfere with medical admission, affecting doctors’ self-esteem.
  • According to some Public health specialist is ‘the poor budgetary allocation for health is the root cause for the violence’, an inadequate budget meant inadequate infrastructure, fewer doctors and an overstrained system.
  • Another important issue is the involvement of drug companies in unethical trade including sponsoring doctor’s tours abroad, conferences and offering expensive gifts, this is also an important reason for unethical practice by doctors.

Way ahead –

  • An immediate step is to ensure exemplary action against violence is needed. State should impose the rule of law quickly and fairly, whenever the law is broken.
  • Greater accountability is needed, not only from doctors but from all sections of society. Each professional group and government institution, whether they are doctors, civil servants, lawyers or judges cannot continue to act as though it is doing the public a favour by carrying out their duties.
  • The general awareness for public should be given, that the institutions of the state which have been nominally created to serve them are actually doing so. There should not be an adversarial relationship between the public and institutions. Doctors should participate in spreading understanding of science and society.
  • However long-term measures require vastly improved health infrastructure, fewer patients per doctor in line with international norms so that care can not only be given but seen to be given.
  • There must be a constant audit of the working hours of medical personnel and the fatigued doctor should not be left in the front line to deal with an emotionally charged public. Social workers in crucial departments such as accident and emergency wards to handle anxious crowds will certainly reduce the stress of already overburdened postgraduates and house surgeons.
  • The cooperation of individuals and societies is needed. Civil society and the medical community must together to demand better health care for our population.

Question: Doctors are the most important pillar of Health care facilities. How recent instances of violence against medical practitioners can lead to further deteriorations in Health care?

 

2.Rise of terrorism in Africa (Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of rise of terrorism in African continent and the various areas of domination by different terror groups. (GS paper II)

Overview

  • Aspiring Africa has been fraught with the issues of terrorism and instability. Various terror outfits have dominated the different areas and have posed a considerable dent on Africa’s growth. However, there have been no ample focus on the region’s crisis and its subsequent solutions.

Terrorism in Africa

  • The terror activities have grown exponentially in the continent, not only in terms of the number of attacks but also the number of countries affected due to increased proliferation of terrorist groups.
  • Recent incidents of terror attack by al Shabaab in southern Somalia, a suicide bomb attack by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and an attack on a military post in Mali by an al Qaeda group have exposed the crisis once again that Africa is facing.
  • The terror activities have grown exponentially in the continent, not only in terms of the number of attacks but also the number of countries affected due to increased proliferation of terrorist groups.

Terror groups and area of domination

  • A number of groups have been terrorising the civilians and governments alike in several parts of Africa. While global terror groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al Qaeda have made their presence felt in the region, other local groups too have gained prominence over the years.
  • The deadliest of these are Boko Haram, al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Shabaab. As a result, an arc of instability is spreading across Africa, from Nigeria in West Africa, Mali in Sahel, Libya in North Africa, to Somalia in East Africa.

ISIS

  • Since 2014, pro-ISIS terrorist groups have been active in North Africa, particularly in Tunisia and Libya.
  • In Libya, the instability following the collapse of the Muammar al Gaddafi regime, and the presence of numerous indigenous factions and also the porous borders, provided a fertile ground for the expansion of ISIS in the country.
  • Moreover, Libya’s long unmonitored coastline too provided the ISIS with a channel to Europe. Between 2014 and 2016, ISIS expanded its presence in multiple cities in Libya, including Derna, Benghazi and Sirte. While the terror group was driven out of most of the region under its control, there are chances that remnants of the group may reconstitute and again create problems.
  • However, The ISIS plan to establish a caliphate in North Africa was thwarted after it was routed out of Sirte, the last ISIS strong hold, in December 2016 by the Libyan National Army, with air support provided by the United States (US).
  • In Tunisia, Ansar al-Sharia, an ISIS affiliate, has been responsible for a large number of terror attacks in the country.
  • ISIS is recruiting youth from eastern as well as southern Africa to fight its wars in Syria and Libya. In Kenya, coastal Tanzania and Zanzibar, youth from the Muslim communities are vulnerable to the ISIS recruitment drives.

Boko Haram

  • Boko Haram (meaning Western education is sin) continues to target civilians and government infrastructure despite several rounds of operation conducted by the Nigerian Army. Boko Haram, that came up in 2009, had emerged as the ‘world’s deadliest terrorist organisation’ by 2014
  • While there may have been some reduction in Boko Haram-led violence in the country due the Nigerian Army’s counter terrorism campaign, the group continues to expand its operations in neighbouring countries such as Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Al- Qeada

  • Prominent terror groups in Sahel region have declared their allegiance to Al-qaeda.
  • They have recently decided to combine forces and merge into a single group called Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen(Group for Support of Islam and Muslims)
    Sahel is a semiarid region of western and north-central Africa extending from Senegal eastward to The Sudan. It forms a transitional zone between the arid Sahara(desert) to the north and the belt of humid savannas to the south.

    Al shabaab

  • Al Shabaab is active in the Somalia. Moreover, it has taken control of some towns after defeating the troops of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
  • The withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops from Somalia and the announcement by the African Union to withdraw AMISOM too (triggered primarily by reduction in funding by the European Union), may have been to an extent responsible for al Shabaab’s comeback.
  • Another issue of concern is the possibility of revival of friendship between the al Qaeeda of Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Shabaab. In the past, al Shabaab is reported to have trained cadre along with AQAP.

Way ahead

  • There is no doubt that terrorism is a global problem and countries across the world including India have for decades suffered from this scourge. While the rise in terrorism in Africa may not impact India directly, there is no denying the fact that this may not remain the case in future.
  • Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa, Boko Haram’s continued attacks in the country makes it an issue of concern for India too. At the Third India Africa Forum Summit in 2015, and during Prime Minister’s visit to Kenya and South Africa in 2016, the issue of cooperation in counter-terrorism was raised. As African countries look towards the international community in their fight against terrorism, friendly support from India will go a long way in taking the relationship forward.
  • Over the years, African countries have devised various measures to deal with this threat at the pan-African level. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, adopted at Algiers in 1999, had put in place a solid framework to deal with the scourge of terrorism. It not only defined terrorism but also laid out areas of cooperation among the member states as well as guidelines for the extradition. Such a transcontinental effort can actually work effectively to sooth out terrorism in Africa.

Question: Throw light on the different dimensions of terrorism in Africa. How India can assist in African peace building?

 

3.Century of Champaran Satyagraha (100 years) (General)- High probability issue in GS 1

Synoptic line: It throws light on the Champaran satyagraha and its consequences. This year marks 100th anniversary of Champaran. (GS 1)

Introduction

  • The Satyagraha held in Champaran marked a centenary this year. In Mahatma Gandhi’s own words, Champaran was the place that first introduced him to India.
  • Mahatma Gandhi’s first Satyagraha in India was held at Champaran. It was undertaken in the erstwhile undivided Champaran district in northern Bihar. He went there in April, 1917 on learning about the abuses suffered by the cultivators of the district, forced into growing indigo by British planters/estate owners. ‘The Champaran tenant’, informs Gandhi, ‘was bound by law to plant three out of every twenty parts of his land with indigo for his landlord’. This system was called Tinkathia.

Champaran chapter

  • The successful struggle of the erstwhile indigo cultivators of Champaran against European planters introduced to India satyagraha non-violent civil disobedience as a tactic of mass politics that Gandhi had experimented with earlier in South Africa. Over the next 30 years, he was to employ satyagraha to galvanise millions into one of history’s biggest mass movements against perhaps the greatest imperial power of all time.
  • Since the 19 century, British planters had started to exploit farmers in India by forcing Indigo cultivation on them. Non-compliant farmers were harassed by the planters as ditches would be dug around their houses, to create a barricade for essential resources and services. The planters demanded triple taxation in form of kaithiya lagaan,and did not permit the planting of food crops.
  • It was barely two years that he had returned from his two-decade long residence in South Africa.
  • Agrarian issues rarely formed the part of the political discourse in those days. Even Gandhi was reluctant to commit himself to task in the beginning. But he was so thoroughly persuaded by Rajkumar Shukla, an indigo cultivator from Champaran that he decided to investigate into the matter. Gandhi’s plan was to carry out an extensive inquiry in the district and demand action based on its findings.
  • He went to Champaran in his personal capacity, revealing nothing of his association with Indian National Congress. By his own admission, Gandhi was on a humanitarian rather than a political mission to Champaran. Nobody recognized him in the district, located in northern end of Bihar, bordering Nepal. It was practically shielded from the political currents in the rest of India.
  • In Champaran, Gandhi was ordered to leave immediately but he refused, telling the administration that he would rather take the punishment for disobeying the law. Gandhi was tried in Motihari but soon the trial collapsed.
  • This was a new manoeuvre, and the government, not prepared to use force immediately, took a step back and the first round was won.
  • The Lieutenant Governor of Bihar had ordered the withdrawal of case against Gandhi, and the Collector wrote to Gandhi saying he was free to conduct the inquiry. But this small step was giant leap forward in the history of freedom struggle.
  • Gandhi went about investigating the grievances of the peasants. Accompanied by Rajendra Prasad, Mahadev Desai and J B Kripalani among others, he went about, recording detailed statements in the manner of modern commissions of inquiry.
  • Gandhi’s method of inquiry at Champaran was based on surveys by the volunteers. The respondents who willingly gave statements should sign the papers or give thumb impressions. For those unwilling to participate, the reasons must be recorded by the volunteers.
  • he Champaran Inquiry Committee began its preliminary meeting on July 11, 1917. After several sittings and spot visits, the Committee submitted its final report in October. The Government accepted almost all its recommendations to the benefit of the ryats. The principal recommendation accepted was complete abolition of Tinkathia system. It was a major blow to the British planters who became resentful.

Relevance of Gandhi’s method in present times

  • The Champaran struggle is a very good example of a restrained moral struggle combined with social responsibility. There were no marches or strikes in Champaran. “Instead of defeating the opposition, Gandhi sought to win it over through the art of political persuasion.
  • In contrast, the tendency in today’s politics is often to burn down the house to light a candle. The goal is to achieve a political victory by any means necessary, even if it comes at the cost of larger communal harmony.
  • That’s why, Gandhi’s methods remain relevant. There is an ethical component in his actions which has tremendous power and validity.

Moreover, Mahatma Gandhi himself wrote in his autobiography, “The Champaran struggle was a proof of the fact that disinterested service of the people in any sphere ultimately helps the country politically.

Question: What could have been the fate of Champaran if Gandhi ji had advocated the violent revolution to get rid of British oppression?

 

4.Tensions in Korean Peninsula (The Hindu) 

Synoptic line: It throws light on the recent face-off between US and North Korea. (GS paper II)

Overview

  • There has been rising confrontations between North Korea and USA. North Korea is not mending its ways and has recently conducted missile test along with hydrogen tests that were conducted last year.
  • Korean peninsula has been witnessing even more disturbances in recent times and concerns of outrage has grown recently since the U.S. Navy deployed warships in Korean waters.

Present issue

  • North Korea has been engaged in a pattern of provocative behaviour due to which US is determined to come heavy handed on North Korea.
  • Now, Washington is displaying its naval might at the face of North Korea by deploying the naval ship in the vicinity of North Korean waters.
  • The move by USA have been quoted as precautionary. US President Donald Trump has made North Korea a key foreign policy concern of his administration and is bound to break the back of North Korea.
  • However, North Korea had threatened nuclear retaliation in the event of any attack.

Growing concerns

  • Concern has grown since the U.S. Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack, raising questions about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. and unilateral sanctions. Moreover, United States has warned that a policy of “strategic patience” is over.
  • the US’s show of force was timed around the most important day on the North Korean calendar, the anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, who founded the nation and is the late grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un. Such a step can irk North Korea even more. However, the rogue state has a history of launching missiles and taking provocative actions on Kim Il-sung’s birthday, and satellite imagery suggests Kim Jong-un might take the opportunity to flex his military muscles on April 15.
  • There is speculation that Pyongyang will mark the occasion with by testing missiles or detonating a nuclear device.
  • S. had commenced installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea in response to missile tests by the North. It has already increased regional tensions.
  • China banned all imports of North Korean coal under U.N. sanctions, cutting off the North’s most important export, and more recently, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said national airline Air China was suspending flights to Pyongyang.

Way ahead

  • Though India is not directly involved in the conflict but any nuisance in the region will disturb all the countries equally. Moreover, uncertainty associated with the confrontation is bad for economic growth of the region.
  • If the Chinese government views Pyongyang’s growing nuclear capability with concern, as it professes to, then it must do much to use its leverage effectively. Merely stressing the need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict is not enough.

Question: What should be India’s strategy with respect to North Korea? Should it be strategic restraint or proactive advocacy?

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